Using Swiss scenic trains for photography

Using Swiss scenic trains for photography

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cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 17, 2017 - 2:19 PM

1. I am planning to ride on Golden Pass, Glacier Express and Bernina Express, do I need to make reservation with my Swiss Travel Pass? I would like to open the window for taking photos. Is 2nd class can do? Can I order catering on train when I reserve seat?

2. Talking about the difference between 1st and 2nd class in Swiss. Is 1st class less people than 2nd class? Is this easy to have a seat in 2nd class in Summer?

3. Do I need to activate my Swiss Travel Pass Flexible and Half Fare Card? Is Half Fare Card and Family card can be purchased in Luzern Station?

Thank you!!

Arno
Arno
9617 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 17, 2017 - 4:58 PM

Hi Cecily113,

1. You don't need reservations on the Golden Pass trains but you do need them for the other two, regardless which type of pass or ticket you will be traveling with. Our scenic train pages explain all about it. But you would need to avoid the panoramic tourist trains as they do not have opening windows. You'd better take the regular trains on the same route. At least some of those may have windows that can open.

2. Please see myswissalps.com/train/ practical/2nd1stclass.

3.Activation/validation is not needed in most cases, please see here and here. Yes you can buy at the station but you'll save time if you simply print them at home (see your other thread). Also a home printout gets you a backup in case of a lost card as you can print it again if necessary.

I hope this helps you out!

Last modified on Jun 17, 2017 - 4:58 PM by Arno
rockoyster
rockoyster
929 posts
top member
Jun 18, 2017 - 12:22 AM

Hi Cecily,

You can pre-order lunch on the Glacier Express. I did but regretted it. Overpriced and not great. I found the whole food service thing very distracting.

With hindsight I would have bought food prior to boarding to take with me. Many people did.

See also my comments on photography here www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-reluctant-travellers-swiss-adventure

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
470 posts
top member
Jun 18, 2017 - 1:56 AM

Hi Cecily,

We were on Glacier Express last year and unlike Rockoyster we decided not to pre-book a meal as we were not sure we would want a large meal at that time of day. So we just asked for a menu and ordered something from that - a simpler meal - Mike had a delicious salad and I had apfelstrudel with English sauce (hot custard ) which was also delicious. Some people were eating food they had taken on board with them and a few did what we did. Those (probably the majority of travellers in our coach) who had ordered the full meal seemed to be very happy with what they had though. I guess it depends on exactly what you feel you would like to do - eat simply and concentrate on the scenery or have the full gastronomic experience as part of the trip!

Maggie

rockoyster
rockoyster
929 posts
top member
Jun 18, 2017 - 2:35 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hi Maggie,

I too would have been happy with something lighter off the menu. The Prättigauer Bauernteller (Farmer's Platter) looked particularly appealing to share one between two and in fact that is what I thought I had ordered when I made the reservation.

There is a whole story about why I found the food service quite distracting (including almost coming to blows with the maitre d'train) but that is for another time. ;-)

Cecily you can find the full on-board menu at www.glacierexpress.ch/ en/travel-planning/gastronomy/

The on-line reservation page has a very limited selection from which you can pre-order. That's where I went wrong. The "Plate of the Day" turned out not to be the "Farmer's Platter".

cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 18, 2017 - 4:10 AM in reply to Arno

Dear Arno,

Thanks for your information!! I try to buy the rail pass from the website but they offer the price that is higher than I bought in Hong Kong, no Family card can be selected and they need to courier to my home, printing option is not available for Swiss Travel Pass Flex too. Hence, I shall buy it in Hong Kong.

You raised a good suggestion "back up". Can I photocopy the rail pass as a back up? Thank you!!

cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 18, 2017 - 4:36 AM in reply to rockoyster

Dear all

Actually we won't take the whole train on Glacier Express, we shall start the ride from Zermatt then stop at Andermatt, change train to Bellinzona by Gotthard Panorama Express. After visiting Lugano, we shall take Bernina Express to Chur for whole day.

Questions:

1. Does anyonw know if the view for passing through Landwasser Viaduct on Glacier Express is the same as the one on Bernina Express?

2. I shall bring Nikon D800 with 2.8/24-70 and polarizer for my trip. I think the train runs quite fast, not sure if the polarizer work smoothly on the train. Hence, any suggestions to reduce the reflective from the window?

3. How to check the closing time of each station's Express Luggage service? Based on SBB webstie, the closing time the station are: Zurich 0430-0130, St. Gallen 7/24, Murren (no info)

Thank you!!!

cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 18, 2017 - 4:38 AM in reply to rockoyster

Dear rockoyster,

Thank you for your report!! The catering on Glacier Express price is over my budget, I shall not book in advance then. I shall buy Salt sim card, it looks good value!!

cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 18, 2017 - 4:41 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hi Maggie

Good to hear you have a good experience on Glacier Express, I did it 14 years ago but we didn't order a meal, only buy a glass as souvenir:)

rockoyster
rockoyster
929 posts
top member
Jun 18, 2017 - 4:51 AM in reply to cecily113

Hi Cecily,

In answer to your questions:

1. Yes. But you have to be quick to get a good photo. The view is best on the left hand side of the train heading south to north. Don't worry if you are not sitting on that side of the train. It is easy to move around. You can go into the area at the end of the carriage (where the entry/exit doors are). Many people took photos from there. Still through glass though.

2. Nice camera. The sunnier the day the more reflection. The polarizer should help.

3. Do you have a lot of luggage? I found taking luggage on trains no problem at all and much less hassle than having to deposit at station and collect later.

Last modified on Jun 18, 2017 - 4:56 AM by rockoyster
Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Jun 18, 2017 - 8:37 AM in reply to cecily113

Hi Cecily,

>> 1. Does anyonw know if the view for passing through Landwasser Viaduct on Glacier Express is the same as the one on Bernina Express?

As rockoyster mentioned, you have to be quick. On the official Bernina Express, they will announce the approach of the Landwasser Viadukt, but it doesn't hurt to be aware yourself of when it is coming up, as it is all over in about 20 seconds! Travelling in the direction of Chur, be ready to look for it once the train pulls out of Filisur.

Another particularly photogenic piece of railway architecture is the Brusio circular viaduct, not far into the journey when you are travelling from south to north. Be ready for it after you have passed Campascio station (which the train will not stop at).

I have attached some photos of the Landwasser Viadukt and Brusio circular viaduct, which I took through the train window with a pocket point-and-shoot camera. I was travelling north to south on a regional train, seated on the right in a window seat. To get the same view travelling south to north, you would need to be seated on the left, facing backwards.

I have also attached a photo showing the interior and windows of the regional train on the Bernina Express route.

>> 3. How to check the closing time of each station's Express Luggage service? Based on SBB webstie, the closing time the station are: Zurich 0430-0130, St. Gallen 7/24, Murren (no info).

Those will be the station closing times, but I wouldn't be surprised it the luggage counter closed earlier.

Mürren baggage services are open Monday to Sunday 07:35 to 11:50 and 13:45 to 17:45.

Strangely enough, this information is not provided for Zürich and St Gallen stations. It might be worth using the form on the following page to enquire, to avoid any unpleasant surprises ;-)

www.dml.sbb.ch/content /sbb/en/desktop/meta/k ontakt.accitm.abos.htm l

Alpenrose

Please login to see the attached documents
cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 18, 2017 - 2:23 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

Thanks for reminding!!

Yes, I have two luggage, one 32" and one 26". I don't mind carrying the luggage but the problem is that we have to store the luggage in order to visit some places in the middle of the day. That's why I am looking for lockers or Luggage service.

cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 18, 2017 - 2:28 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

Hi Alpenrose

Thanks for the photo!! It seems regional train's 2nd class also can't open the window.... :( But your photo has no reflection, it looks good!! How did you do that?

Thanks for the link, I find that most are closed before 18:00. I don't think I can arrive the station before 18:00.... I have sent my queries to SBB, see what they reply.

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Jun 18, 2017 - 2:39 PM in reply to cecily113

>> It seems regional train's 2nd class also can't open the window....

Yes, they can be opened. You can see the handles at the top of the windows in my photo. I never open them for photos though.

>> But your photo has no reflection, it looks good!! How did you do that?

Sometimes holding the camera at a particular angle will help to avoid reflections. If the reflections are near the borders of a photo, I will crop them out with a photo-editing program if I can. Mostly it's nothing more than good luck!

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 18, 2017 - 3:08 PM by Alpenrose666
cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 18, 2017 - 2:40 PM

If I take Bernina Express from Tirano to Ospizio Bernina at 15:33, get off the train then walk to Lago Bianco, then walk back to Ospizio Bernina.

How long does it take? Is 50mins enough? I find that there is regional train departs from Ospizio Bernina to Chur at 16:21. If not, there are two trains comes next as below:

1. Ospizio Bernina 16:50 > Filisur 18:18, Filisur 19:01 > Chur 20:03, 3h13m

2. Ospizio Bernina 17:12 > Pontresina 17:50, Pontresina 18:02 > Samedan 18:08, Samadan 1817 > Chur 20:03, 2h51m

Please advise if the above trains also ride on the same routes as Bernina Express? Thanks a lot!!!

Arno
Arno
9617 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 18, 2017 - 2:57 PM in reply to cecily113

Hi Cecily113,

Sorry, I assumed at home printing of the Swiss Half Fare Card because I thought (from another thread) you already had the Swiss Travel Pass Flex. The Swiss Travel Pass Flex can indeed not be printed at home (yet). Did you check all the purchase options at myswissalps.com/swisst ravelpassflex/price? Shipping to Hong Kong is free through www.happyrail.com/en/p ass/europe/switzerland /swiss-travel-pass-flex. They also sell the Swiss Half Fare Card (www.happyrail.com/en/p ass/europe/switzerland /swiss-half-fare-card) and the Swiss Family Card.

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Jun 18, 2017 - 3:00 PM in reply to cecily113

>> 1. Ospizio Bernina 16:50 > Filisur 18:18, Filisur 19:01 > Chur 20:03, 3h13m

2. Ospizio Bernina 17:12 > Pontresina 17:50, Pontresina 18:02 > Samedan 18:08, Samadan 1817 > Chur 20:03, 2h51m

Please advise if the above trains also ride on the same routes as Bernina Express?

Yes, they do.

The 16:50 from Ospizio Bernina to Filisur is the official Bernina Express (heading for Davos Platz, which is why you have to change at Filisur), and you will need a reservation.

The 17:12 is a regional train and no reservation is required.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 18, 2017 - 3:05 PM by Alpenrose666
cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 19, 2017 - 5:21 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Please don't say sorry!! You are very helpful indeed. Thanks for your information. I shall buy the passes in Hong Kong as the agency here offers discount which is cheaper. Can I make a photocopy of the pass as backup? Thank you!!

cecily113
cecily113
61 posts
active member
Jun 19, 2017 - 5:33 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

Thanks Alpenrose!! I shall take regional train then:)

rockoyster
rockoyster
929 posts
top member
Jun 19, 2017 - 6:43 AM in reply to cecily113

Hi Cecily

By all means make a photocopy backup but if you lost the original I doubt the photocopy would be an acceptable replacement. The reason you can't print the Flex pass at home is that you fill in the dates you are going to use it as you go along. If you could print at home there would be a risk that some unscrupulous person would just print several copies and start using a new copy once the number of days on the original had been exhausted. Same would apply for a photocopy I think.

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